In her Christmas address to her subjects, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II had a message for those who, like her, suffered a loss in the past year. "Although it's a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones,” the queen said Saturday. "This year, especially, I understand why." The queen's husband, Prince Philip, died in April. On her desk at Windsor Castle, facing the camera during her televised speech, was a framed photograph of the two on their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007, the New York Times reports.
The queen acknowledged the difficulties in celebrating the holidays in a time of COVID; Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, spent Christmas with her, but the queen was unable again this year to join the rest of the family at Sandringham. Some long COVID patients are recovering enough by now to begin enjoying holiday feasts again, per the BBC. A symptom can be parosmia, which alters taste and smell. One English patient sought counseling and is making progress. Kate McHenry stayed home last Christmas because she couldn't take being around food cooking. She tried pizza but found it intolerable. "This year I can sit down with my family and have a meal with everyone, which is a big change," McHenry said.
Many people face increased struggles this season, of course, especially given the pandemic. An Iowa mental health therapist said expectations should be tempered, per KGAN. "First-time holidays following a loss can always be hard, also that anxiety," Brittany Brdicko said. "Everyone wants the holidays to go perfectly. That's not realistic." Elizabeth's remarks included perspective, per the AP: "Life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings." She added that for her and her family, "even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas." (Read more Christmas stories.)